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Title: Emergent Bilingual Middle Schoolers’ Syncretic Reasoning in Statistical Modeling
Background/Context: Bi/multilingual students’ STEM learning is better supported when educators leverage their language and cultural practices as resources, but STEM subject divisions have been historically constructed based on oppressive, dominant values and exclude the ways of knowing of nondominant groups. Truly promoting equity requires expanding and transforming STEM disciplines. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article contributes to efforts to illuminate emergent bi/multilingual students’ ways of knowing, languaging, and doing in STEM. We follow the development of syncretic literacies in relation to translanguaging practices, asking, How do knowledges and practices from different communities get combined and reorganized by students and teachers in service of new modeling practices? Setting and Participants: We focus on a seventh-grade science classroom, deliberately designed to support syncretic literacies and translanguaging practices, where computer science concepts were infused into the curriculum through modeling activities. The majority of the students in the bilingual program had arrived in the United States at most three years before enrolling, from the Caribbean and Central and South America. Research Design: We analyze one lesson that was part of a larger research–practice partnership focused on teaching computer science through leveraging translanguaging practices and syncretic literacies. The lesson was a modeling and computing activity codesigned by the teacher and two researchers about post–Hurricane María outmigration from Puerto Rico. Analysis used microethnographic methods to trace how students assembled translanguaging, social, and schooled practices to make sense of and construct models. Findings/Results: Findings show how students assembled representational forms from a variety of practices as part of accomplishing and negotiating both designed and emergent goals. These included sensemaking, constructing, explaining, justifying, and interpreting both the physical and computational models of migration. Conclusions/Recommendations: Implications support the development of theory and pedagogy that intentionally make space for students to engage in meaning-making through translanguaging and syncretic practices in order to provide new possibilities for lifting up STEM learning that may include, but is not constrained by, disciplinary learning. Additional implications for teacher education and student assessment practices call for reconceptualizing schooling beyond day-to-day curriculum as part of making an ontological shift away from prioritizing math, science, and CS disciplinary and language objectives as defined by and for schooling, and toward celebrating, supporting, and centering students’ diverse, syncretic knowledges and knowledge use.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1837446 1738645
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Teachers College Record: The Voice of Scholarship in Education
Page Range / eLocation ID:
206 to 228
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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